Film Review: REC, Saturday 23 February, Glasgow Film Theatre

24 Feb

As part of the Glasgow Film Festival 2008, I headed West from Edinburgh yesterday to catch a few films, one of which was Spanish horror hit, REC.

As I mentioned in my GFF preview, REC is a Spanish horror film that has done great guns in its homeland, becoming one of the top grossing films of the last few years. It’s not hard to see why.

Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza’s film starts with a young TV reporter and her cameraman following the monotonous routine of a fire crew in her town. After a few hours spent in and around the fire station the alarm sounds and the reporter is finally able to join in the “excitement” of a real shout, that of an old woman trapped in her apartment.

From the moment they arrive in the building things start to go wrong, with an unexpected attack from the woman setting in motion a chain reaction that will make the TV report anything other than monotonous.

I can’t claim to be an expert in horror films, (though I do have an Amicus boxset waiting to be ploughed through, Dr Terror’s House of Horror first on the list), but I like to think I know a good one when I see it. REC is more than just good, with the inevitable shocks paced out just enough to allow a bit of plot to develop.

Claustrophobia envelops the viewer after the first 25 minutes, leading to a series of shocks and adrenalin-pumping sequences for the majority of the running time before shivers kick-in somewhere in the last 15 minutes or so: I’ll freely admit the hairs on my arms were up and down like a yo-yo in the last few scenes. The last 5 minutes in particular are just plain nasty, though to say more would spoil it.

REC has left me with a number of memorable images and a desire to watch it again, hopefully in company.

Due to open in the UK on 11 April, this is a film worth counting down the days for: please see it before the inevitably pointless US remake, Quarantine, comes out.

Review by Jonathan Melville

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